This has been an incredibly long day, but I’m pleased with the final outcome and I suspect this once-a-month deal will become a regular thing around these parts.
Lessons learned so far:
- Read the recipes more carefully when making the menu and grocery list. I missed a couple of key ingredients, so I wasn’t able to make one dish today.
- Everything will take longer than anticipated, especially making new recipes.
- Wash as you go. I was doing really well at this until it came time to make dinner on top of everything else.
- Have a plan for lunch on the day you plan to cook. I ended up snacking on goldfish crackers to tide me over because I got hungry in the middle of cooking; I hadn’t planned a lunch (or a lunch break, for that matter).
- Work recipe-by-recipe down the list to make sure you don’t forget anything. I forgot about my plans for soup beans once and that I was planning on making pot roasts three different times.
In the end today, I made six different recipes, on top of making meatloaf last night:
- Stick a Fork In It’s Crockpot Barbecue Chicken
- The Pursuit of Happiness’s Crockpot Orange Chicken
- Once a Month Mom’s Veggie and Rice Stirfry Packets (only I didn’t do the rice)
- What’s Cooking, Chicago’s Cincinnati Skyline Chili (the final result is good enough to remind me of home)
- My own pot roast (with potatoes, onions, and baby carrots)
- Shredded barbecue chicken (from a whole chicken and with the added bonus of a quart of chicken stock)
- My own meatloaf recipe, quadrupled to make two 2-lb meatloafs and a third, smaller meatloaf
The thing I love best about the meals I chose is that they either make for lots of leftovers (the crockpot barbecue chicken is made with 6 chicken breasts — there are two of us at most in the house at night) or lots of individual servings for the nights it’s just me and the Munchkin. For example, the veggie stirfry packets recipe made five individual servings of vegetables, and the Cincinnati chili recipe made four or five individual servings plus a larger serving for a night when Southern Honey is home.
In addition, since I’ve already planned out my menus for the next four weeks, I’m not going to have to make more chili or veggies next month because these batches are so large. Next time I make them, I might tone them down or otherwise compensate for the size — or the Munchkin may be on full-time people food by then.
I will say that I am absolutely exhausted at this point. I still need to make pancakes and crockpot spaghetti sauce tomorrow, and then I’ll brown up my leftover ground beef and turkey for tacos and other ground beef dishes. I also ended up with some extra pork loin, so we have enough to make barbecue or something else next month — it’s the sort of thing that’s handy to have for unexpected company nights.